U.S. repatriates Guantánamo Bay detainee to Algeria
An Algerian man has been released from Guantánamo Bay and sent back home after spending nearly 20 years at the detention center, the Pentagon announced Sunday.
Why it matters: The repatriation of Sufyian Barhoumi, 48, was approved during the Obama administration, when a review board determined in 2016 that he was "was no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat" to U.S. national security, per a Defense Department statement.
- The release of Guantánamo prisoners largely stalled during the Trump administration, and Barhoumi's case was among those affected.
- It's the second transfer from Guantánamo this year and the third since President Biden came to office.
The big picture: Barhoumi was accused of participating in a bomb plot against the U.S. after being captured in Pakistan with a senior al-Qaeda member in 2002, per the BBC.
- The case in which it was alleged he was a bomb-making instructor was abandoned after a civilian court ruled that the Pentagon didn't have the "authority to charge the civilian offense of 'providing material support to terrorism' as a war crime," the New York Times notes.
What they're saying: "The United States appreciates the willingness of Algeria, and other partners to support ongoing U.S. efforts toward a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing of the Guantanamo Bay facility," the Defense Department said in its statement.
By the numbers: 37 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, according to the Defense Department's statement.
- "18 are eligible for transfer; 7 are eligible for a Periodic Review Board; 10 are involved in the military commissions process; and two detainees have been convicted in military commissions," the statement said.